It is a fairy tale type place. Visually, some mix of Disney, Hogwarts, and something one’s own imagination came up with during bed time stories. The reality of being in Prague on foot in August was to be competing in a sea of humanity. As one Czech put it to us, “No Czechs here other than those that work, everyone lives outside of the old town.” We only had two nights, so our experience was relegated to the old town during one of the busiest weeks.
Prague was our first stop on a quick week descending Eastern Europe from Berlin to Ljubljana. We were unsuccessful in arranging a rental car from Berlin due to restrictions on where we could take the car as I mentioned in a previous post. Despite working around these restrictions, we would still face more that would keep us from getting everywhere we wanted to see – Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, and Bulgaria.
If Prague is a spectacle for the eyes, there must be some reason. Given its location and proximity to the World Wars, other conflicts, and being behind the Iron Curtain, all of which should have deteriorated the beauty. But, Prague was spared a lot of damage in WWII, which also limits the amount of rebuilding in communist architecture.
Other qualities that made Prague feel magical were the amount of live music in the streets and what felt like a general levity. Maybe it was all the heavy history in Berlin, but Prague felt like more of a joy.
We took a free walking tour where an American named David Evans gave us the best free tour we’ve experienced so far. He was extremely knowledgeable and funny. I doubt he’ll be doing the tours forever, but if you find yourself in Prague definitely try and find him. Being with David is like drinking Slavic knowledge from a fire hose. This might be especially difficult if you’re not a native English speaker. But I loved him, and I hope he gets to buy his dream castle in the Czech country side one day. After the tour, David recommended we try an old communist style eating hall, Lokal. Solid food choices at good prices, where we shared a table with two women who also did the tour who are from Canada, but both have been living and working in London for some years now. Both were reaching the end of their time in the city.
Another place we loved and went to upon arriving in town was Atrium. While we just missed their kitchen closing that time, we went back for more partly due to the beautiful space. We left happy. On our last morning, we stopped for breakfast at Home Kitchen which was equally adorable and delicious. We spent a lot of time walking the streets at various times of the day. The lighting would change, making for new looks at different hours.
Spending some time at Prague Castle is definitely worth your time, we chose to watch the sunset from up there which was a great choice. There is a small security checkpoint to go through before entering the grounds. Prague Castle is the seat of the Czechia government where the President works. It isn’t just an empty tourist attraction. We approached security, and Shell had to have her bag checked. The first guard found our bottle of wine and called his colleague over and started asking questions. But the smiles broke out pretty quickly after we offered to open it and share a glass with the guards. They waved us on to have a good time. Fun fact, the Rolling Stones lighting director was the one who lit Prague Castle, all donated by the Rolling Stones as a personal favor and gift to the Czech people and to their friend and President at the time, Vaclav Havel.